Prev-IndexNL-Next

Nederlog


  July
23, 2014
Crisis: Snowden*2, Germany, War, Corporations, Violence, Blair, Police
  "They who can give up essential 
   liberty to obtain a little temporary
   safety, deserve neither liberty
   nor safety."
 
   -- Benjamin Franklin [1]
   "All governments lie and nothing
   they say should be believed.
"
   -- I.F. Stone
   "Power tends to corrupt, and   
   absolute power corrupts
   absolutely. Great men are        
   almost always bad men."
   -- Lord Acton
















Prev- crisis -Next
Sections
Introduction

1.
Edward Snowden: ‘The World Is Much More Unpredictable
     and Dangerous’ Than George Orwell’s ‘1984’

2. 40min Edward Snowden Interview Globo Brazil TV News
     (aired after NBC Brian Williams Interview)

3. Keeping Spies Out: German Ratchets Up
     Counterintelligence Measures

4.
The Cost of War
5. This Agreement Hands The Sovereignty of Our Country
     Over to Corporate Interests

6.
Tomgram: Jonathan Schell, A Niagara Falls of Post-9/11
     Violence

7. Tony Blair sees his millions as modest – only in the world
     of the super rich

8.
Bill Maher Rails Against Militarized Police Culture in
     Outstanding Monologue


About ME/CFS


Introduction:

This is the second Nederlog of July 23. It is a crisis log.

The first one of today is (title) "About my philosophy". I think that one is both interesting and brief, albeit with many links, but I do accept that not many of my regular readers are seriously interested in philosophy, and indeed it also is a dif-
ficult subject if dealt with properly, that requires a great amount of reading. (Even so, my "Why philosophy is important" is the most popular file on my site, I think  since 15 years: 1576 downloads the first 21 days of this month, for example, from Denmark alone, for there also is my Dutch site.)

This second one is a crisis log, and it is a bit abnormal in that it contains three videos, in items 1, 2 and 8. The first two are links to two recent video interviews with Edward Snowden, which I only got to see today, while the last is to a bit by Bill Maher about the militarization of the American police, that he and I think quite frightening. Together that is close to an hour of video, which I would not have put up if I did not think it interesting and worthwile.

For those who want to read: There is a Spiegel article on Germany taking counterintelligence measures; an article by senator Sanders on the cost of war and the rights of veterans to be decently treated; an article by Washington's Blog of the horrors of the secret TPP; an article on the post 9/11 violence; and even an article on Tony Blair's vision of his being a multi-millionaire, which is here to show he always lies, confuses, misleads and deceives: A Real Third Way Man. (I think the last item is the least important, but it's here because I do despise Blair and the Third Way: utter intentional bullshit.)

And I'll also try to keep it small.
 

1. Edward Snowden: ‘The World Is Much More Unpredictable and Dangerous’ Than George Orwell’s ‘1984’

The first item is a brief article by Natasha Hakimi Zapata on Truth Dig that introduces a video of 14 m 4 sec:
The video shows Ewan MacAskill and Alan Rusbridger interviewing a - clearly rather tired - Edward Snowden. This is the first time I saw it all, for I could not get a contact for longer than 45 seconds with previous editions.

I like it, but the next one is better, longer and also with a less tired Snowden:

2. 40min Edward Snowden Interview Globo Brazil TV News (aired after NBC Brian Williams Interview)

The next item is not an article but a video of 33 m 47 s of a recent interview with Edward Snowden by Brazilian television:

This is quite good and it is all in English, with Portugese subtitles. 

3. Keeping Spies Out: German Ratchets Up Counterintelligence Measures

The next item is an article by seven authors (sorry: too many names, and they are at the end of the interview) on Spiegel On Line:

This article starts as follows, with a subtitle that I quote because it gives a fair summary. It is bold in the original:

Officials in Berlin were long in denial that their closest allies were spying on Germany. Now, ministries are undertaking measures to improve security and counterintelligence. They're anticipating frosty relations with the US for some time to come.

This starts properly thus:

Last Wednesday, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière paid a visit to his colleague in the Foreign Ministry, Frank-Walter Steinmeier for a strictly confidential conversation about the currently tense relationship with the United States. Specifically, they planned to address the latest spying revelations and accusations. Before the meeting began, both ministers turned in their mobile phones. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has a small side room he uses for this purpose; part of the Foreign Ministry is in the former Nazi Reichsbank and has very thick walls. The room is now used to store smartphones and tablet computers when sensitive discussions take place.

The precaution reflects the significant disquiet and anxiety in Berlin's ministries and in the Chancellery as the summer holidays get underway. Slowly, ministry officials are starting to grapple with the true meaning of "360 degree" counterintelligence. It means defending yourself not just usual suspects like Russia or China. But also against Germany's closest allies, particularly the United States.

It is a good article, although it seems the current situation is this:

Because Obama apparently expressed little understanding for the commotion in Germany, Merkel is now taking action.

The only thing she is lacking is a solid plan.

But OK: It is a difficult situation, and the main thing the German government should convince itself of is that the NSA really is stealing all the - very often very private - data it can get and that it is illegally spying on billions to find their trade secrets and ways to blackmail ("pressurize") people. (And it may have found a lot to blackmail many Germans.)

For that is the law in Europe and in Germany: Privacy is to be respected, not destroyed because that is o so very handy for the powerful.

4. The Cost of War

The next item is an article by Senator Bernie Sanders on Common Dreams:

It starts as follows:
The cost of war is great, and it is far more than the hundreds of billions of dollars we spend on planes, tanks, missiles and guns.

The cost of war is more than 6,800 service members who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. The cost of war is caring for the spouses and children who have to rebuild their lives after the loss of their loved ones. It’s about hundreds of thousands of men and women coming home from war with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, many of them having difficulty keeping jobs in order to pay their bills. It’s about high divorce rates. It’s about the terrible tragedy of veterans committing suicide.

The cost of war is about supporting family caregivers for disabled veterans. It’s about 2,500 young men and women who would like to start families but are unable to do so because of war wounds.

The bottom line is that if we are going to send people off to battle, we must understand what the war experience means to their lives and do everything we can to make them whole when they return. If we can’t do that, we shouldn’t be sending them into war in the first place. That’s the contract we have with the people who put their lives on the line to defend us.

It continues explaining that he and Senator John McCain have supported a very rare bi-partisan move that also was passed with 93-3 votes.

5. This Agreement Hands The Sovereignty of Our Country Over to Corporate Interests

The next item is an article by Washington's Blog  This starts as follows (and I have shortened the four line title):

We reported last year:

Democratic Senator Wyden – the head of the committee which is supposed to oversee it – is so furious about the lack of access that he has introduced legislation to force disclosure.

Republican House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa is so upset by it that he has leaked a document on his website to show what’s going on.

What is everyone so furious about?

An international treaty being negotiated in secret which would not only crack down on Internet privacy much more than SOPA or ACTA, but would actually destroy the sovereignty of the U.S. and all other signatories.

It is called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

And it continues as follows - and I quote a lot because I agree:

Yesterday, Congressman Alan Grayson (who knows how to read legislation … he was a successful lawyer before he was elected to Congress, and has written and co-sponsored numerous bills himself including the bill to audit the Federal Reserve and – most recently – the “Mind Your Own Business Act” to stop NSA spying) announced that he had been allowed to read the text of TPP – and that it is  an anti-American power grab by big corporations:

Last month, 10,000 of us submitted comments to the United States Trade Representative (USTR), in which we objected to new so-called free trade agreements. We asked that the government not sell out our democracy to corporate interests.

Because of this pressure, the USTR  finally let a member of Congress – little ole me, Alan Grayson [anyone who's seen Grayson in action knows that he is formidable] – actually see the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP is a large, secret trade agreement that is being negotiated with many countries in East Asia and South America.

The TPP is nicknamed “NAFTA on steroids.”  Now that I’ve read it, I can see why. I can’t tell you what’s in the agreement, because the U.S. Trade Representative calls it classified. But I can tell you two things about it.

1)    There is no national security purpose in keeping this text secret.

2)    This agreement hands the sovereignty of our country over to corporate interests.

3)    What they can’t afford to tell the American public is that [the rest of this sentence is classified].

***

I will be fighting this agreement with everything I’ve got. And I know you’ll be there every step of the way.

***

Courage,

Congressman Alan Grayson

Grayson also noted:

It is ironic in a way that the government thinks it’s alright to have a record of every single call that an American makes, but not alright for an American citizen to know what sovereign powers the government is negotiating away.

***

Having seen what I’ve seen, I would characterize this as a gross abrogation of American sovereignty. And I would further characterize it as a punch in the face to the middle class of America. I think that’s fair to say from what I’ve seen so far. But I’m not allowed to tell you why!

Remember that one of the best definitions of fascism – the one used by Mussolini – is the “merger of state and corporate power”. Our nation has been moving in that direction for a number of years, where government and giant corporations are becoming more and more intertwined in a malignant, symbiotic relationship.   TPP would be the nail in the coffin for free market economics and democracy.

Note to progressives who support public banking: This is a key battle.

Note to those who oppose to what they call “one world government” or a “new world order”: This is the big fight.

And it is worth repeating:

It is ironic in a way that the government thinks it’s alright to have a record of every single call that an American makes, but not alright for an American citizen to know what sovereign powers the government is negotiating away.

Also, I have called this corporate fascism in December 2012 - before knowing anything of Edward Snowden - which I repeated this year, in a somewhat briefer form. And we owe this not only to Karl Rove, the Tea Party and the GOP: we also owe this to the Clintons, the Blairs, the Browns and the other "leftist" leaders in Europe, who were bought and sold out (and indeed now are multi-millionaires).

6. Tomgram: Jonathan Schell, A Niagara Falls of Post-9/11 Violence

The next item is an article by - the recently died - Jonathan Schell on TomDispatch:
This starts with the following introduction:

In December 2002, finishing the introduction to his as-yet-unpublished book The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People, Jonathan Schell wrote that the twentieth century was the era in which violence outgrew the war system that had once housed it and became “dysfunctional as a political instrument. Increasingly, it destroys the ends for which it is employed, killing the user as well as his victim. It has become the path to hell on earth and the end of the earth. This is the lesson of the Somme and Verdun, of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, of Vorkuta and Kolyma; and it is the lesson, beyond a shadow of a doubt, of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”

More than a decade later, that remains a crucial, if barely noticed, lesson of our moment.
(...)
Today, partly in honor of his memory (and my memory of him) and partly because I believe his sense of how our world worked then and still works was so acute, this website offers a selection from that book. Consider it a grim walk down post-9/11 Memory Lane, a moment when Washington chose force as its path to... well, we now know (as Schell foresaw then) that it was indeed a path to hell.
That was only from the introduction. You can read the rest by clicking the last dotted link.

7. Tony Blair sees his millions as modest – only in the world of the super rich

The next item is an article by Simon Jenkins on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
How rich is Tony Blair? What are the needs of an ex-prime minister with grown-up children, a working wife, £25m in property and bodyguards costing the state £1m a year? Blair protested yesterday that he is not worth £100m, “not half of that, a third of that, a quarter of that, a fifth of that, and I could go on.” That gets us down to below £20m. In addition, he pleaded that, “I spend two-thirds of my time on unpaid work,” such as bringing peace to the Middle East. How dare anyone suggest he was motivated by money?
Incidentally, an English pound is worth around 1 dollar 70 cents. In dollars, Blair himself admits he is worth well over 35 million dollars. He is a real socialist, as real as many of his real socialist leader cronies, and just two of his homes that he recently bought cost over 10 million pounds. (For more on the - very murky, very secretive - state of Blairs many millions see: The mystery of Tony Blair's finances  from The Guardian of December 2009.)

8. Bill Maher Rails Against Militarized Police Culture in Outstanding Monologue

The last item of today is another video: Bill Maher on the militarized U.S. police, that still advertises itself as being there "to protect and serve":  Well, yes "to protect and serve" the government and the rich, and Maher is right he is frightened.

---------------------------------

Notes
[1] Here it is necessary to insist, with Aristotle, that the governors do not rule, or at least, should not rule: The laws rule, and the government, if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn Greenwald:
It is more proper that law should govern than any one of the citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place the supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to be only guardians, and the servants of the laws.
(And I note the whole file I quote from is quite pertinent.)

.


About ME/CFS (that I prefer to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which is a disease I have since 1.1.1979:
1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

2. Malcolm Hooper THE MENTAL HEALTH MOVEMENT:  
PERSECUTION OF PATIENTS?
3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
9.
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)



       home - index - summaries - mail